And so the screenwriting axiom goes; every story has a beginning, middle and an end. You’re on the home stretch; third act heading towards the conclusion of your screenplay. The end is in sight.
Here are some ways to end your story:
This is a neat, logical conclusion to your story. The ending is organic and your main character has earned their outcome to the story. This is probably the easiest type of ending to write because it is the most expected. Logical endings are often determined before the main story is written.
This is a slightly more obscure type of ending which doesn’t immediately appear to be the most logical or probable outcome. The story conclusion is deliberately misaligned with the initial story goal and sometimes doesn’t make immediate sense. It’s open to interpretation.
These endings rely on challenging the audience perception of what an open ended really means. Disconnected endings are often a stylistic device seen in auteur and arthouse films.
These types of endings rely on a strong element of surprise. The screenwriter has been deliberately leading the main character towards a particular story resolution, but manipulated the audience expectations and used the least probable (but possible) outcome.
Circular endings don’t necessarily resolve the theme explored in a film. The main character often ends up in the same situation as they started. For instance, if they started out as a poor farmer in a remote village, there is no rags to riches story. They end up the same way. The purpose of the story is to explore their lives rather than track a character arc.
Irony is an often misunderstood literary term. It relates to two opposing concepts leading to a positive story conclusion. For instance, consider a story where two tribes go to war to ensure everlasting peace. Imagine that; we need to fight to attain peace!
These endings refer to plot driven films with very strong-willed protagonists. They battle a powerful adversary. Consider movies like “Erin Brockovich” and “The Insider.” These endings occur with a very strong sense of justice being served. They good guys (and gals) win out.
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